Offsite: (ôf’sīt’, ŏf’-)
1. Taking place or located away from the site, as of a particular activity: an off-site Team Building operation.
2. A Bone crushing, Stomach-twirling, Hallucinating, Ass-pinching, but a TOTALLY WORTH IT ride to Parson’s Valley (a suburb of Ooty).
Just to make the impact of the trip a little finer, here is a before-after piece :
Neha (refer CAST):
Before: “I don’t drink. I won’t drink. I shan’t drink”.
After: “Hic. Puff. I don’t drink. Hic. Puff. I won’t drink. Hic. Puff. I shan’t drink. Hic.Puff.
Before the trek: I hate Parsons valley, they don’t even have a heater in the rooms. Filthy place……Why……Why God Why…..Why are we here?
After the trek (when Parson’s Valley is visible from a distance): Parson’s valley, I LOVVVEEEE YOU………… I BOW before you (She actually bows down).
THE CAST :
It is never apt to reveal the details of a trip without defining a proper cast. We were a bunch of motley, unassuming, yuppie city slickers who, until recently had never set a foot on a hill higher than Mount Carmel, which, actually is a college. Here goes the cast:
Subeer AKA Su-Beer(Good Beer)AKA My Big Boss, Antonym ( SOBER )
The Parson’s Valley Trip was Subeer’s Brainchild. After having one glance at our physiques, Subeer fanthomed the magnitude of risk involved and immediately termed the trip as his “Revenge”(for crimes I know not of). This was the perfect “Safe Mode” strategy. Imagine ten people coming up to you and saying the trip was Crap; you could always escape by saying,” I told you it was my Revenge”.On the contrary, if they liked it, you could say,” I was kidding about the revenge crap.Hehe.” So, by doing this, SB had extended his Defensive Consulting Skills beyond the boardroom.
Jolly AKA Leonidus the Spartan
Mr. Harpreet Singh Jolly a.k.a Jolly, whom we all believed to be an outlier surdy, showed us the polar opposite side of his personality on this trip. He firmly believes that Pulling one’s legs only makes one taller. He got drunk, showed off his calf muscles, and almost became a Spartan ;). He has made sure that this post isn’t without humor.
Kangan A.K.A Nak A.K.A. My Boss AKA K.
A fitness freak by choice, Kangan solemnly swears by the new age adage that cold water has calories. K was the reason Subeer had come up with the defensive armor thing. Her asking Subeer whether we would be putting up at a Resort confirmed his inhibitions. But one thing was guaranteed, if anyone could finish the trek without fatigue, it was K.
Francis a.k.a Francisco a.k.a.”Chilled”
Francis is a man whose default mood/expression/attitude/voice/clothing is always ‘chilled’. Full time celebrity, part time consultant, you never knew whether this guy was actually high or not, another reason being that he was always wearing shades.
Divya Rane a.k.a. D . a.k.a. Shane a.k.a. Div Div Divya
Divya is an easily embarrassed joke maker, with a plethora of Funny T Shirts. One of the few people who pulled Jolly’s legs, D reiterated the fact that D also stands for Drinking. She was adventurous and fun to hang out with. With a Masters in “How to shop till others drop”, she really takes Shopping verrrrry seriously.
Rujuta a.k.a. Ra-jhuu-taa: as we discovered, was a.) a photography enthusiast b.) Shopaholic c.) Missing gym classes for the entire week before the offsite and was not feeling guilty about it (which she reminded us around 55 times in the 5 hour trek 😉 )
Supneet A.K.A. Supu Singh
Supneet is a person who can be happy, sad, crazy, whacky, mad, sane, crybaby, bullying and loving at the same time. To cut a long story short – She is FUN. Her favourite phrases, in her order of preference (reserved specially for me) are 1.) Useless (pronounced as Use-lass) 2. Donkey 3. Thappad maar doongi . She left me with a pack of cigarettes, which I have handed over to Neha. Wished it was a Jack Daniels instead. SS is a nocturnal creature much like me, who thinks I am mad – can’t blame her though.
NEHA aka Ahen aka The Professional or, Ultra Mild:
Well Well Well…Neha is full of surprises, some of them scary, others scarier. She was so much fun already, but at Ooty she just took it to a different level. Single handedly responsible for inflating our booze budget, Neha also made sure that Parson’s Valley would now be renamed as Puff Daddy Valley. 😉 I want to Frame the printout of her response to the Booty Tracker which said “I don’t Drink” to all questions. I guess its time to join the DNA – National Dyslexic Association. 😉
Priyanka a.k.a. PT :
PT is a woman of few words and those words are Work Excellence(oxymoron). As I came to know, PT is the Francis kind – speaks less, listens more, 2 ears, 1 mouth and so on. She also inspired Jolly to get an Overall Sweater for himself.
Ramana a.k.a Ramz a.k.a. Ramz – ies a.k.a. ( Ramz – k) – k is variable
To say that Ramz is a trek enthusiast would be an understatement. Trekking does to Ramz what marble flooring does to Punjabis in Delhi and MS does to South Indians – makes them complete. Ramz has a penchant of taking photographs of anything with the stamp of Nature. Born with an SLR camera in her hand with “macho optical ambidextrous shoo shaan lenses”, she has now (after the offsite) got a database of pictures which even National Geographic would be envious of. Apart from my fashion portfolio, she has also captured pictures of pebbles and moss as well as the insects on that pebble and moss.
Me. a.k.a. Yours Truly, Awesome
And then there’s me. I don’t like blowing my own trumpet, so I won’t. Plus, I hear you need to remove your last two ribs if you really want to indulge in self-blowing of said trumpet. I like my ribs.
So there, now you know the cast.
17th December, 2009
Our ride to Ooty was a tempo traveler which looked exactly like an ambulance, replete with Green curtains. It was a routine 12 seater ride with a TV, but sadly, which we found out later, was for the deaf, as there was no speaker system. We were 4 of us on our way to the Bangalore Airport – Subeer, Neha, Francis and me. The vehicle was small, and had just enough space for the rest 7 who were about to board from the airport.
“Do you think we would fit into this bus Neha?”, I asked.
“Well that’s the motive, my friend – to make the team come really close”, said Neha.
The Mumbai and the Gurgaon team hadn’t slept all night, taken a flight at 5 in the morning and were at Bangalore by 9. The only people who eventually turned up late were the hosts.
I was meeting 3 people for the first time – Priyanka, Rujuta and Div Div Divya.
Kangan looked like she had got enough clothes to last for a year; Divya looked like she needed a smoke and Jolly had already whipped out his camera. After a slew of Jhapphiyaan, boarded the bus, leaving Jolly asking Kangan to pay him Rs. 40 for carrying her luggage.
So, we were off. After what seemed like an hour of pregnant silence with intermittent comments by Jolly mostly targeted at me, like:
“Munda thoda jhalla nahi hega?” ” Ankit ko hum patte pehnake pole dance karwaenge”.
Then Supu Singh came to the rescue, “Lets have a drink”.
Out came Francis with a bottle of Vodka. After what seemed like 2 neat shots each, we got down for lunch at a place called Kamath. Then, we waited for Supneet and Divya to finish a pack of cigarettes and then we got to the bus. Jolly, Kangan and Ramana were already out with their cameras.
Up next was a movie called Feeling Minnesota – a movie chosen by Neha. Within 5 minutes she was asleep. Jolly called it one of the top 3 Worse movies he had ever seen. He said he would have awarded it the first prize had there not been a certain scene featuring a “bullesye”.
Our next stop was Cafe Coffee Day. We proved to be the most un-profitable people for CCD – we just walked inside the CCD, went to the loo and came back to the bus.
Then we reached Ooty, which was, in one word – Mindblowing (in Russell Peters terms MindBlasting…..Anything can blow your mind). What started after that was a myriad of concussions, headaches and puking sessions.
The ride from Ooty to Parson’s Valley was an hour and half long. And what a ride it was – I thought the bus was a cellphone in vibrating mode. The road, if any was through a dense jungle.
We were finally there – Parson’s Valley, a land lost in time! In every breath I took, I felt I was taking in double the oxygen. I could smell the purity in air, after which I realized that it was the food.
We went to our rooms and crashed.